Iron Maiden & Megadeth Live in KC

Iron Maiden with Megadeth
Sprint Center
Kansas City, Missouri
September 7, 2013

By Jeb Wright

Iron Maiden Set List:
Moonchild | Can I Play with Madness | The Prisoner | 2 Minutes to Midnight | Afraid to Shoot Strangers | The Trooper | The Number of the Beast | Phantom of the Opera | Run to the Hills |Wasted Years | Seventh Son of a Seventh Son | The Clairvoyant | Fear of the Dark | Iron Maiden

Churchill's Speech/Aces High | The Evil That Men Do |Running Free

Megadeth Set List:
Hangar 18 | Wake Up Dead | In My Darkest Hour | Sweating Bullets | Kingmaker | Tornado of Souls | Symphony of Destruction | Peace Sells

Holy Wars...The Punishment Due

The Heavy Metal Tour of 2013 rolled into the Heartland on September 7, 2013, as the Kansas and Missouri faithful descended upon the beautiful Sprint Center in downtown KC, MO.  This is no ordinary tour, as it contains the one/two punch of New Wave of British Heavy Metal icons Iron Maiden and one of America’s favorite Thrash Metal founders Megadeth squaring off for a show that puts fists in the air all night long. 

While tonight’s show, and the entire tour, clearly belong to Maiden, as they are the headliner and have the better light show, the better pyro, the longer set and many more diehard fans adorning their T-shirts, opener Megadeth are nothing to sneeze at. Along with Maiden, ‘Deth are one of the few classic Metal bands who continue to release new music that is as powerful, intense and creative as their past works. 

Band leader, Dave Mustaine, in his white button-down shirt (I could not tell if he was wearing Penny Loafers or not) looks more like a 1980’s preppie with a bad haircut than he does a Heavy Metal Monster.  His clothes are much more deceiving than his long locks of red, as Mustaine pushes the band forward; pouring every ounce of energy he has into the music.

Megadeth, the band, is the total package and even though there have been a dozen or so guys in the band over the years, this may be the best musical lineup they have ever taken onstage. 

While Mustaine’s voice is never going to get him into Juilliard, for the songs of Megadeth, it is perfect.  In fact, Mustaine’s whining, annoying, gruff, sneering and bold vocals are one of the most unique aspects of the band. 

While he can also jam a bad ass riff and solo, all eyes in the audience continually went over to the other guitarist, Chris Broderick, the entire evening.  Broderick had jaws agape as his fingers flew up and down the fret board weaving Metal tapestries of piss, vinegar and raw energy the entire performance.  The new tune, “Kingmaker” from Megadeth’s latest album Super Collider, made a believer of anyone who thought Megadeth were a thing of the past.  These boys rock it hard and heavy from start to finish.

Bassist David Ellefson and drummer Shawn Drover need to be mentioned, as they are responsible for laying the solid foundation for each song for Mustaine and Broderick to solo over.  They literally plow forward with an intense energy and a sonic tightness that allows the entire set to run like a well oiled,  yet, out of control locomotive.  Suffice it to say that these guys are heavy…yet they understand that melody has its place in Thrash.  This foursome pound it forward like men possessed by the Spirits of the Metal Gods that came before them…some of which, had to follow this Metal onslaught only a half hour after this Symphony of Destruction deafened the ears of the eager crowd.

As good as Megadeth were, the Rivet Heads gathered together under the roof of the Sprint Center were there to see only one band: Iron Maiden.  The crowd took their cue from the UFO classic “Doctor Doctor” and began screaming for Maiden before the lights even went down.

Once they did go down, and the video screens lit up, the crowd was instantly on their feet and ready to rock. 

When the spoken intro to “Moonchild” introduced this evening’s theme, which was to see the band revisit the majority of the set list they performed a quarter century earlier on the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour, time seemed to stop and the only thing that mattered was the band of Heavy Metal soldiers who had just ran onstage, the most important being the short-haired front man, Bruce Dickinson.

Okay, before going on, Dickinson made one error, repeatedly, the entire evening, but because Maiden does not visit these parts all that often, he was forgiven. All night long he bellowed his trademark, “Scream for me” to the crowd.  Only, instead of realizing the show was in Kansas City, Missouri, the crowd politely accepted Bruce instructing them to “Scream for me Kansas!” Other than that, however, neither Dickinson, nor anyone else on stage, came close to making a mistake the entire evening (other than an errant drumhead toss…more on that later).  This was a flawless, powerful and intense performance.

When a band can perform only one song from their best selling album, which was “The Trooper” from Piece of Mind, and they can leave out possibly their most beloved song, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and still have the crowd on their feet giving them standing ovation after standing ovation, then one knows they are witnessing a special show.

Dickinson’s vocals were spot on and his showmanship was such that one could not take their eyes off him.  He changed wardrobes, entertained the crowd between songs and ran a marathon running around the tall stage, often jumping over monitors and bouncing himself from stage partition to stage portion.  He is one of the best Metal frontmen of all time, hands down.

The three guitar lineup of Janick Gers, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray presented a triple threat of riffs, solos and squeals.  They each bring something special to their six string approach.  Murray is a fast soloist, while Smith is a flat out, meat and potatoes guitarist and Gers is a showman, flinging his guitar around his body and even running between the legs of Maiden mascot, Eddie, that was prancing around the stage during “The Trooper.”

Drummer Nicko McBrain, described by Dickinson as, “A man whose face has sunk a thousand ships” is always a crowd favorite and tonight was no exception.  He pounded the skins and kept the rhythm going strong, his only mistake coming at the end of the show when he sent a drumhead into the crowd that acted like a boomerang and sailed back to the stage.  Steve Harris, the bass player, plays the low end like he’s the fourth lead guitar player in the band.  He jumped up and down and thumped away, performing with intensity and energy the entire evening. 

Maiden’s set was solid with five songs coming from 1988’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. The best songs from that album were “Can I Play with Madness” and “The Evil That Men Do,” yet all of them went over well.  One of the unique things about this show was the inclusion of three songs from their self-titled debut, Iron Maiden, which came out in 1980, two years before Bruce Dickinson even joined the band, including the epic “Phantom of the Opera” that was, perhaps, the best performed song of the evening.

The band pumped out a heavy version of the song that had the true die hard Rivet Heads in euphoric Maiden Bliss.  “The Prisoner” from 1982’s Number of the Beast was another standout track.  This song comes across very well in a live setting.  Of course, “The Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills” were crowd favorites, some shocked that they were performed so early in the set.

The crowd sang the ominous musical opening to “Fear of the Dark” while the classic “2 Minutes to Midnight” saw one of the many sing-a-longs by the feverish crowd.  “Wasted Years” from 1986’s Somewhere in Time was well received and actually comes across better live in concert than it does on the studio album.

“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” is a long song that moves back and forth in tempo, which can make it risky to play live.  On this night, however, the slow moving eeriness was matched by an incredible mood altering stage and light show that kept the crowd spellbound until the song kicked in.   

The main set ended with “Iron Maiden” but when the video screens lit up with war scenes and Winston Churchill began speaking, Maiden fans knew “Aces High” was going to kick off a three-song encore that included that song, along with “The Evil That Men Do” and “Running Free.”

A few were left grumbling for “Hallowed Be Thy Name” but most in the crowd were too high on what they had just witnessed and heard to worry about what was left out.  This was an Iron Maiden concert that lived up to the band’s enormous live reputation.

Iron Maiden, like a truly beautiful woman, gets better with age.  The high of this show is only topped with the anticipation of what this mighty band will do next time out!  The bottom line here is, obviously, to go see Megadeth and Iron Maiden live. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to witness an evening of pure Heavy Metal greatness!